We believe collaboration is the only way to solve problems, and our travels have connected us with some of the most interesting minds out there.
FARIS YAKob, co-founder
Faris began his career as a strategy consultant for digital businesses during the first dot com explosion. He moved into the agency world, eventually joining Naked Communications as their 20th employee. Faris worked for Naked in London, Sydney and New York, during their heyday, as a communication strategist and later as global head of digital.
Faris went on to be EVP Chief Technology Strategist at McCann Erickson NYC, tasked with ushering in their digital transformation, which led to them wining their first ever Cyber Lion at Cannes. Subsequently he was appointed Chief Innovation Officer of MDC Partners, a network of best in breed agencies, including CPB, Anomaly, 72 & Sunny and kbs+.
Deployed within kbs+, he established a social team and developed the social products and services, helped start the content team, and co-founded creative technology boutique Spies&Assassins.
Faris was a founding member of the IPA Social Committee, is on the global advisory board of Social Media Week, and has judged numerous award shows, including the social category for the Effies. He helped the London International Awards to create and define the NEW category to reflect and highlight innovation in the industry. He has been blogging and involved in the ongoing discussions around social in the industry for almost a decade.
He has written about social media and marketing for Campaign, Fast Company, Forbes, Contagious, Canvas8 and Age of Conversation books. He has spoken on social, digital and innovative marketing all over the world and his thesis on the future of brands won the inaugural IPA President’s Prize.
Faris is the author of Paid Attention and co-authored The Digital State: How The Internet is Changing Everything [Kogan Page], and speaks about his work at conferences and corporate events around the world.
ROSIE YAKOB, co-founder
Rosie began her career working with hip hop moguls Jay-Z and Steve Stoute at their entertainment branding company, developing non-traditional ways for brand like Altoids, Target, Wrigley and Samsung to connect with their fans. She joined Cake Group’s newly founded New York office in 2009 where she launched Motorola’s global social media presence and helped brands like Havaianas, Sears and Oppenheimer navigate the world of social and digital media.
In early 2011, Rosie joined Saatchi & Saatchi’s New York office to lead social and emerging media, advising brands including P&G’s Pampers & Olay and General Mills’ Cheerios amongst others. She helped the agency to develop a point of view on social, guiding their own social media presence as well as their internal structure and setup for future projects.
Before co-founding Genius Steals with Faris, Rosie was most recently at 360i, an award-winning digital marketing agency, named by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies. There she and her team helped brands like Bravo, Dentyne, NBCU and Oreo navigate the world of social and emerging media from creative ideation through to activation.
This included being the lead strategist on the Cannes Grand Prix and Facebook Best in Show winning Oreo Daily Twist campaign, where she developed the strategy and interagency process necessary to deliver fresh creative content every day for 100 days and to ‘win the superbowl’ with the blackout tweet that birthed Real Time Marketing.
Rosie has written for publications including Fast Company, Digiday & SocialFresh.com and her presentations on social have been featured on the front page of Slideshare. She is passionate about moving the industry forward and has served on the Jay Chiat Social Media jury and taught at Miami Ad School in addition to speaking at conferences around the world. She believes that brands can create and curate culture, and connect to people in ways that create value for both.
Elea keeps our life and business in order. Seriously. We couldn't do it without her. When she's not handling travel logistics, managing billing, or helping with design, she's teaching yoga and leading meditation to kids/teens/adults in New York City, or helping to plan events for Filibuster.NYC.
CREATIVE & EVENTS DIRECTOR
Josh is a creative/producer hybrid, and the husband to Elea, our admin extraordinaire. He has spent his career analyzing the media landscape and developing cross-platform content to help clients break through the noise. He's the founder of Filibuster NYC, a company that creates epic & engaging experiences.
BUSINESS MANAGER & CPA
Melissa and her team keep us accountable, literally. They run Pen & Ledger, in Nashville, TN, and are responsible for the financial side of Genius Steals -- you know, all the numbers stuff -- in addition to helping us with the larger business strategy.
LISA PASTOR, DIGITAL STRATEGIST
Lisa is a digital strategist who uses her love of social media, big ideas and creative experiences to help brands better connect with their consumers. Oh, and she's also behind Two Eggs, a ridiculously rad accessories brand for boss ladies.
BILLY LINKER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Billy runs Brickhouse, a production house based in NYC. When he's not helping brands like Google, Samsung, Timberland and Grey Goose create video campaigns that people actually want to watch, he's shooting documentaries or lounging in Cape Cod.
DAVID PASSIAK, AUTHOR & INNOVATOR
David is a former religion scholar turned technology entrepreneur with 20 years of research and leadership experience focused on disruptive innovation. He is Founder of Social Meditate, and author of Red Bull to Buddha: Innovation and the Search for Wisdom, and also Disruption Revolution: Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and the New Rules of Leadership.